How to Celebrate New Years Eve in Sydney, Australia

For New Years in 2015, we rang in the New Year in the famous Sydney Harbour! 

Sydney Australia New Years Eve
NYE Under the Stars Map - Wandering Jokas Travel Blog

We bought tickets through NYE Under the Stars for the Royal Botanical Gardens early November. The site is located behind the Opera House with a perfect view of the Harbour Bridge. Tickets were $395 each which we thought was a little ridiculous but we considered the views, the all-inclusive food and beverage, great seating, and they had bathrooms. The alternative options to go anywhere would have cost at least $200 each for a prix-fixe dinner and party (and champagne). The other option was to do a cruise but we heard from others that the boats are packed and confining. We asked ourselves, how many times are we going to celebrate New Year in Sydney? Probably only once, so let's do it!

Where to Stay

Hotels were extremely expensive to stay in Sydney and required a 3-5 night stay at the elevated price. Josh had the brilliant plan of staying at the airport hotel for the one night and take the train in and out of the city. It WORKED. The trains stopped around 1p so it was a mad dash and required a little jaunt to the train but we got to the last train just in time.


New Years Eve Sydney - Wandering Jokas Travel Blog

We got our tickets via email and didn't have to print them out, just use the QR code. Since we weren't going to have internet access, we took screenshots of the tickets in our hotel room before we left. We arrived in Sydney around 7:30p since the arrival instructions said to get there by 8:30p, we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time. The streets were all closed off and already filled with party people. Per their instructions and signage, we easily found our way to our location. After we were wrist banded (I was so glad the wristband matched my nail polish) and had our bags checked, WE WERE IN.

Sydney Fireworks - Wandering Jokas Travel Blog

The first set off fireworks went off as a family show at 9pm, so kids could go to bed and not have to wait up. Fireworks were launched from 4 barges. In this show, they played the songs of the year, which exclusively included "Let it Go." Everyone might be sick of it, but it was great fireworks music (and I still LOVE it). 

Now 2.5 hours until the big show.


We realized this place wasn't exactly as advertised. Here's what we discovered:

What Actually Happened

VIEWS - They did have amazing views, but if you got there late, you might have a tree or 2 in your way.

FOOD - The food was good, the wine selection was decent, but the lines to get them were insane. They had servers bringing around food, but as soon as they came out the food was gone in 2 seconds. 

BATHROOMS - There was a 20 min wait for the porta-potties.

GREAT SEATING - It was just a lawn, and there was no where else to sit. If you got up and left your grass patch unattended you jeopardized your spot.

NYE Under the Star Claimed

VIEWS - They claimed to have the ultimate vantage point for the world-class fireworks with uninterrupted views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. It was true for the most part, there were a few trees and bad spots if you were late.

FOOD - Includes Premium all-inclusive food and beverage from 7p-Midnight.

BATHROOMS - Portable bathrooms provided.

GREAT SEATING - We recommend you bring a picnic rug.



But then the main show started, and it was worth every penny...

And the finale blew us away!

fireworks New Years Eve Sydney - Wandering Jokas Travel Blog

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Celebrating New Years in Sydney, Australia - Wandering Jokas Travel Blog

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